The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

May 5, 2013

Cruise caters to genealogists


What could be better than a genealogy convention on a cruise ship! The ninth annual Wholly Genes Genealogy Conference and Cruise is being planned for Oct 17-25, with about 17 hours of genealogy and technology lectures offered while the ship is at sea. (There will be additional lectures pertaining to the Master Genealogist software for those who already use this software or are considering purchasing it.) The ship will depart from Baltimore, Md., and then visit Portland, Maine; Bar Harbor, Maine; St. John, New Brunswick; and Halifax, Nova Scotia before returning to Baltimore.

The cruise will be on the Grandeur of the Seas, owned and operated by Royal Caribbean, which holds 2,246 guests and 760 crew members.

This year’s presenters will be David E. Rencher, chief genealogical officer for FamilySearch; Donn Devine, a professional genealogist and attorney; Judy G. Russell, a professional genealogist, attorney, and author of The Legal Genealogist blog; Rick Sayre, professional researcher and lecturer; Pam Boyer Sayre, professional researcher, lecturer and author; and Craig Scott, certified genealogist and publisher. For complete information, visit

Dick Eastman posted news of this event in his April 21 Online Genealogy Newsletter. He also mentioned his fondness for the ports to be visited, including “when the ship stops at Bar Harbor, make sure you try the exotic flavors of ice cream at Ben & Bills’ Chocolate Emporium on Main Street.” (He provides the establishment’s website at

Eastman adds, “One of the best things about genealogy cruises is all the available activities that appeal to all family members. Even if your spouse or children or grandchildren are not interested in genealogy, they can find a lot of interesting things to do on a cruise ship and on shore excursions.”

Milestone reached

FamilySearch, the nonprofit volunteer-driven organization sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has reached a major milestone of 1 billion records indexed and arbitrated since the launch of its indexing program in September 2006. A statement written by FamilySearch on April 22 reads, “We are grateful for the many volunteers who dedicate their time and efforts to make these records freely available for online research.”

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Patrons may access FamilySearch resources free at or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

At, be sure to click on the link to The Family History Library Catalog Overview. The 15-minute slide show with sound includes steps to take before searching the library’s card catalog.

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing